Course Descriptions: Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices

Course Descriptions


Foundations of Depth Psychology for the Healing Professions DPT 730, 2 units

Depth psychology acquired its name in 1910, but its lineage reaches back into antiquity across many cultures, philosophies, and disciplines of wisdom and practice. This course will trace that lineage by conversing with the ancestors of the field: ancestors from Mesopotamia, North Africa, East Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. Students will learn the approaches they developed and see them move forward from healing and reflective arts in antiquity to include, in the present, various schools of analytical, relational, existential, humanistic, family, post-modern, multicultural psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, trauma, and affective research frameworks. The course will also explore and appreciate what complimentary healing practices, ecopsychology, mythology, cosmology, alchemy, and systems/complexity theory have contributed to depth psychology as we dream it onward in theory and in practice.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing I: Applied Theory and Practice DPT 761, 2 units

Students learn classical Jungian concepts such as ego, persona, shadow, Self, complex, archetype, collective unconscious, transcendent function, and individuation. The course explores dreams, active imagination, typology, and transference/countertransference considerations in the context of Jung’s approach to therapeutic practice and complimentary healing contexts. Contemporary perspectives and applications of Jungian thought are demonstrated through readings that elucidate Jung’s original work and modern integrations. The course pays particular attention to how various forms of trauma and unwellness may be viewed on multiple levels from the personal and cultural-historical to the archetypal, somatic, mythic, and imaginal. These approaches are compared and contrasted with traditional and current psychoanalytic theory and practice with emphasis on the unique framework of what is being asked of depth psychology in the world today and in the context of integration.

Jungian Psychology and Contemporary Healing II: Engaging Complexity and Diversity DPT 861, 2 units

Explore the phenomenon of synchronicity, a discovery that marked a new creative phase in Jung’s later work that has far-reaching theoretical and therapeutic implications. Synchronicity involves a redefinition of reality based on acausality, nonlocality, complexity and emergence, and the understanding that the inner world of psyche and the outer world of matter correspond to each other. Students examine the implications of these shifts for practice, including the centrality of the dream, visionary experiences, and the religious function of the psyche.

Sex and the Spirit: Integrating Jungian and Depth Approaches to Sexuality DPT 961, 2 units

Sexuality holds great mysteries of pleasure and suffering, yet this aspect of human health has been split off from traditional therapy and from its connection to spirituality. Students explore the intimate relationship between Psyche and Eros, Jung’s approach to sexuality, and the important influence of sensual and sexual life to the individuation process. Sexual pathologies also illuminate the delicate relationship between Eros and Thantos, and how pain and suffering closely follow love and sex. This course will review the dynamics between moralism and instincts, spiritual and physical experiences, as well as diverse expressions through LGBTQ culture, sexual fluidity, sex addiction, and archetypal expressions of gender. The course explicitly acknowledges the historical contexts of language in these contexts and honors non-binary conceptualization and inclusivity. Prerequisite: DPT 761

Imaginal and Experiential Dimensions of Therapeutic Practice DPT 962, 2 units

This course explores the traditions that comprise the field of imaginal psychology and elaborates the unique features of imaginal approaches to therapeutic work that flow from depth psychological perspectives. Students develop an imaginal approach to issues such as transference, unconscious processes, physical and emotional symptoms, and dreams, and foster sensitivity to the symbolic depths and metaphorical richness emerging in therapeutic relationships and expanded considerations of such including ecological and technological impacts and complimentary healing practices. In this course, one’s integrative practice is regarded as a vocational commitment in which the awakened heart is the organ of vision essential to support healing. Pass/No Pass

Relational Psychology I: Theoretical Distinctions and Expanded Paradigms DPT 763, 2.5 units

Students are invited into discussions about contemporary developments in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic practices, which place human relationships and mutuality at the center of the therapeutic and healing endeavor. The discussion expands to integrating considerations of subtle energy aspects of the intersubjective field and includes human-animal relations, relationships with nature, and cultural and sociopolitical impacts on relationality. Relational psychology must include the “easy” and “difficult” questions of consciousness and the assumed boundaries and phenomenology of such as well as what it means to be “other” and experiences of embodiment and attunement. Dissociative defenses, resistance, transference and counter-transference, therapeutic alliance, mutual construction of meaning, somatic, internal family systems, and waking and dream imagery enter the relational field.

Relational Psychology II: Psychic Pain and the Human Condition DPT 863, 2 units

Students look at approaches to specific situations and pathological structures, and foster a deeper understanding of the dynamics and presentations of various psychological symptoms including narcissist and borderline conditions, as well as the relational components of addictions and recovery. This course continues the student’s explorations of relational theorists since Freud, including Kohut, Klein, Bion, and others. It focuses primarily on current trends in contemporary psychodynamic and psychoanalytic theory with applied techniques for working with individual and group dynamics.

Archetypal Psychology: Re-Visioning Approaches to the Psyche DPT 762, 1.5 units

Focusing primarily on the work of James Hillman, this course describes the Jungian roots and core ideas of archetypal psychology, including the reality of the psyche, its plural nature, and the importance of the image. Students examine Hillman’s critique of clinical psychology and analytical practice and his call to enlarge the frame of practice to include myth, metaphor, and culture. Using practice material provided by students, lectures and discussions explore how archetypal psychology calls for a re-vision of many traditional therapeutic strategies and approaches.

Depth Approaches to Psychopathology DPT 760, 2 units

This course explores the original formulations of psychopathology and its diverse expressions. Students study theories of character formation and look at the major character disorders, neuroses, and states both from the point of view of their phenomenology and their unconscious underpinnings. Students explore the ways in which theorists of different schools have approached disorders and have offered distinctive therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on depth-oriented contributions.

Interpersonal Neurobiology, Affective Neuroscience, and Depth Psychology DPT 870, 2 Units

Contemporary research across a number of disciplines, ranging from systems theory and depth psychology to neuroscience, somatic studies, and contemplative/spiritual practice, are leading to a paradigm shift in our understanding of the mind/brain. These new research findings illustrate the principles of transformation common to living systems, including various hypotheses concerning the evolutionary role of ancient subcortical, emotional, bodily, and imagistic processes. Students explore embodied models emphasizing intersubjectivity, phenomenology, nonlinearity, and self-organization, centering on the prototypic concept of regulation and the relationship between trauma, the HPA Axis, polyvagal considerations, immune function and epigenetics. Using our current neurobiological understandings of subjective states, consciousness, complexity and emergence, and subtle energy aspects, the course will describe contemporary issues such as the nature of the self and the radical interdependence of psyche, nature, and culture.


Eco-Spirituality and Eco-Therapy DPT 732, 2 units

C.G. Jung wrote, “If one touches the earth one cannot avoid the spirit.” Nature is the bedrock of spirit and spirit the life force of the natural world. Traditionally, depth psychology has explored the union of nature and spirit and the healing that comes about through conscious engagement with such. Post-Jungian interest in the advent of complexity theory expands this conversation and considers parallels with ancestral/indigenous ways of knowing that include practical applications of plant medicine and subtle energy considerations. As such, this course departs from the modernistic fantasy of separation of humankind from nature and explores a psyche that is rooted in nature, infused by spirit, and at the same time deeply personal. In other words, consciousness is not separated with categorical distinctions such as mind/spirit and body/nature. This course fosters an integral approach to healing that addresses the large and important scope of the societal and environmental issues we face today.

Cultural Dimensions of Psychological Life: Engaging Collective Trauma, Cultural Healing, and Social Justice DPT 830, 2 units

An integrative approach to the healing of collective trauma and issues of social justice requires a collaborative study between important contemporary approaches and indigenous traditions of healing. Moreover, psyche and culture are interdependent and co-arising phenomena. To nourish this understanding, theorists who have focused on the cultural dimensions of the psyche will be studied. Students will look at emerging research on the impacts of various forms of trauma, from natural disasters to the effects of genocide and war. The causes of psychosocial and collective trauma, such as racism and the oppression of specific communities, will be thematized and examined. Students will explore the necessary work for justice (social, economic, and environmental) and study techniques designed to address the critical peace-building efforts needed to support healing on individual and group levels.

Special Topics I DPT 974, 1 unit

Selected Topics courses are offered each year to focus on particular areas of depth inquiry as decided by the program. These may include, but not be limited to, indigenous psychology, digital life, the problem of evil, sanctuary medicine and complimentary healing practices, restorative practices, community engagement and depth psychology, trauma contexts, somatic contexts, Earthdreaming, and quantum system frameworks, Jungian and Post-Jungian, and the arts in healing.

Special Topics II DPT 992, 1.5 Units

This course will describe approaches to evil from the point of view of psychoanalytic theory, Jungian psychology, social science, and our philosophical traditions. We will compare and contrast these approaches with traditional mythological and religious approaches to evil, such as the notion of a Devil, and we will study the psychological underpinnings of such beliefs. The course will look at the psychology of problems such as political extremism, xenophobia, and racial prejudice. We will examine the neurobiology of evil, and study theories about the origins of evil that have emerged within evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology. The course will examine the implications of Jung’s notion of the dark side of the intrapsychic God-image. We will look at terrorism and religious fundamentalism from a psychological point of view, and examine the psychology of some terrorist leaders. (Note: The Special Topics courses are selected from a large number of possible areas of study and may change at the discretion of the program.)

Special Topics III DPT 993, 2 Units

Selected Topics courses are offered each year to focus on particular areas of depth inquiry as decided by the program. These may include, but not be limited to, indigenous psychology, digital life, the problem of evil, sanctuary medicine and complimentary healing practices, restorative practices, community engagement and depth psychology, trauma contexts, somatic contexts, Earthdreaming, and quantum system frameworks, Jungian and Post-Jungian, and the arts in healing.

Body, Mind, and Soul in the Healing of Trauma: Somatic, Neurological, and Archetypal Approaches DPT 975, 2 units

Attachment theory, developed by Bowlby and Ainsworth, is now confirmed and extended by contemporary neurobiological research, and points toward the complex interconnections between the body, mind, and spirit. This course examines the renewed emphasis on somatosensory awareness in therapeutic practice, a reversal of the cultural legacy of Cartesian dualism that continues to affect many healing modalities. Kalsched’s archetypal perspective extends awareness of the healing process and dimensions of traumatic experience, including a careful exploration of the means necessary to support the individuation journey. Included are recent approaches to addressing adverse childhood experiences (ACES) in community endeavors such as childhood wellness centers, the role of traumatic stress on the immune system in one’s lifespan as well as intergenerationally, and compassionate approaches to working with physical, spiritual, and emotional unwellness. Individual and collective contexts are explored. Students learn core principles and skillful use of a whole-person approach to trauma and develop a felt sense of the embodied psyche in their professional practice.

Psyche and the Sacred: Psychology and Spirituality in Dialogue DPT 920, 2 units

The psyche’s capacity and affinity for sacred experience, as expressed in religion, ritual, and encounters with the numinosum, continually remind us of the importance of a spiritual consideration in all psychological work. Jung once said that all psychological problems are essentially religious problems. If true, this idea becomes especially interesting to practitioners in the ways it calls for a revision of our notions of self, suffering, pathology, and of approaches to treatment. This course explores ways that many therapists and helping professionals might work with the religious function of the psyche.

Working with Illness and Death: East-West, Depth, and Indigenous Perspectives on Suffering DPT 894, 2 units

This course will integrate critical perspectives from Eastern and Indigenous traditions in the context of working with those who are facing the uncertainties of illness and death. The course will compare and contrast these approaches with depth and Western orientations and invite elders to share their perspectives. Students will explore their own family, ancestral, and spiritual traditions around illness and death and review the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the immune system. Students will explore their own capacity for ambiguity, compassion versus sympathy, transference and countertransference in companioning others, somatic responses, and emergent imagery. The course will further inquire into spirituality, questions of consciousness, interdisciplinary communication, ecotherapeutic considerations, and potential roles of complimentary healing modalities and environments in serving the needs of others in the face of suffering as well as attending to meaning-making and the inevitability of one’s own death.


The Inner Landscape of Dreams and Active Imagination DPT 780, 1.5 units

Throughout time and across cultures, dreams have opened the door to the psyche, offering contact with the transcendent and nourishment for the soul. This class considers Jungian and post-Jungian approaches to the dream and explores their careful integration into therapeutic work. The main focus of the class is on developing personal ability in relating to dreams. We invite a lived experience of dream consciousness to be present by sharing our own dreams and images throughout the class.

Foundations of Scholarly Research and Writing DPT 784, 2 units

This course invites students to contemplate how the fathomless psyche affects the process of research. Taking seriously the core philosophical assumption of depth psychology, the reality of the unconscious, introduces profound shifts in one’s ontology, epistemology, and methodology. In light of this, what can researchers claim to know and how do they know it? This course introduces students to some of the key ideas that affect research including psyche, archetype, image, and the imaginal. The course explains Jung’s technique of active imagination, and teaches close reading and textual analysis as part of a general introduction to the practice of hermeneutics. It also sharpens students’ ability to critically evaluate and write scholarly prose, identifying the key characteristics of a wellargued academic essay, article, or dissertation.

Healing Narratives: Writing Compelling Practice Studies and Client Stories DPT 785, 2 units

Writing about integrative work with clients and conveying compelling stories is critical to depth practitioners who understand the power of narrative for healing and advancing professional knowledge. This special seminar course will support students in exploring their own creativity and imagination, and will support them in honoring their work with clients in individual and group contexts through advanced writing skills specifically attuned to the work of healing professionals. Technical skills learned and practiced in this course may include, but not be limited to, writing progress reports, consent forms, contacting potential employers, blogging effectively, drafting and editing articles, papers, and books, and getting published.

Dissertation Development I: Imagination, Calling, and Rigor in Doctoral Scholarship DPT 832, 2 units

Working with image, dream, symptom, and synchronicity, this course helps students attune themselves to the vocational nature of depth psychological inquiry, and then refine their proposed research topic into a focused research question. Lecture and discussion introduce the dissertation handbook and explain the research process at Pacifica in terms of its key milestones: concept paper, proposal, final draft, and the oral defense. Students critically review Pacifica dissertations to understand the scholarly form and also to augment background knowledge of their topic area. Through a thorough, systematic critique of their own work, students expand their knowledge of scholarly writing and learn the central importance of re-visioning their ideas and language to explore the deep psyche.

Dissertation Development II: Qualitative Methodologies and Mixed Methods Research DPT 782, 2 units

This course compares and contrasts key qualitative methodologies, including their origin, history, epistemological assumptions, and theoretical basis as well as their practical and ethical implications. In addition, students learn how to blend qualitative and quantitative studies in a mixed-methods research study. Discussion focuses on contemporary critiques of traditional methods to address their limitations and biases. Students learn how questions of methodology are organically related to the research topic and affect the research design, procedures, and outcome of the work. The course is intended to guide students in choosing a possible methodology for their dissertation topic.

Dissertation Development III, IV, V DPT 942 A (1 unit), B (.75 unit), C (.75 unit) per quarter

These seminars span the second and third years of coursework, slowly and organically guiding students toward the completion of an approved dissertation concept paper. Each student, in consultation with the instructor, sets individual learning goals. The course answers questions concerning dissertation writing at Pacifica, including how to refine a research question, select and review relevant literature, choose an appropriate research methodology, articulate a thoughtful approach to research ethics, and form a dissertation committee. By the end of the winter quarter, most or all students will emerge with an approved concept paper. Prerequisites: DPT 942 A for DPT 942 B and DPT 942 B for DPT 942 C. Pass/No Pass

Enacting the Oral Tradition: Oral Comprehensive Presentation DPT 994, 2 units

A key aspect of doctoral studies is the gradual movement from the realm of student to the realm of professor. Whether or not a student ultimately becomes a teacher, each must still give back to the world in a depth-oriented way a synthesis of what he or she has learned. In this course students develop effective presentation skills to prepare them for speaking and teaching. In particular, this course helps to prepare students for the important capstone in the doctoral journey at Pacifica, the oral defense of the dissertation. The course is conducted like a professional conference, in which the presentations are timed and followed by a question and answer session. In addition, instructors will use their observations to discuss the principles of effective speaking and philosophies of teaching. Pass/No Pass

Practice Consultation Groups I, II, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX DPT 750, DPT 850, DPT 951 and DPT 952 (1.5 units each) DPT 751 and DPT 851 (1 unit each)

The goals of the practice consultation courses are to integrate theoretical learning with practical experience, and to demonstrate a variety of approaches to practice from a depth perspective. Students present cases in confidential small-group formats for the purposes of depth consultation from an instructor/practitioner at least once per quarter. In addition to practice consultation, each course will address a particular theme that typically mirrors specific material in other coursework. These may include such topics as maintaining a mythic sensibility, working with image, dream, and story, issues of race, gender, and cultural diversity, socioeconomic forms of suffering, oppression, and alienation, the challenges and hopes of technology, mindfulness and contemplative/spiritual inquiry, expressive arts, interdisciplinary collaboration, somatosensory and affective aspects, trauma and psychoneuroimmunology, eco-therapy and the world soul/consciousness, complimentary healing practices, creativity, depth approaches to assessment and pathology, human-non-human relations, transference, and ethical problems. During the two quarters of the third year of coursework, students present a control paper to examine their own learning around theory and their own applied integrative practice work in depth. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: DPT 750 for DPT 751; DPT 751 for 850; DPT 850 for DPT 851; DPT 950 for 951; DPT 951 for DPT 952

Practice Consultation Groups V DPT 852, 1 unit

This course introduces students to foundational aspects of the supervisory relationship. In small groups, each led by an experienced supervisor, students will be exposed to particular themes in which to deepen their understanding of and capacity for applied work in a supervisory and consulting role. This introductory course will address basic foundational expectations of a supervisor and/or consultant as well as expand into themes and discussions around the impact of relational and unconscious processes in these types of relationships. The course offers a rich opportunity for students already experienced in supervisory and consultation roles to share experiences of strengths and growing edges with those who are in the beginning phases of learning supervisory work. Licensed psychotherapists and social workers will be in a different group than those from the nursing professions or pastoral counseling, for instance, so as to attend to the important ethical component unique to each profession. Included in the course may be topics such as establishing a supervisory frame, differentiating supervision from therapy, issues of power and privilege, enactment, transference and countertransference, incorporating dreams and imagery, boundaries of particular complimentary healing modalities and practitioners, addressing conflict, among others. Pass/No Pass. Prerequisite: DPT 851

Practice Consultation Groups VI DPT 950, 1.5 units

This course compliments the Practice Consultation Group V course which addressed foundational aspects of the role of the supervisor and offers opportunities for role play and the use of self in emphasizing functional aspects of the lived experience of the supervisory relationship as well as how subtle aspects of the work being discussed enters into the field of awareness. Such aspects as enactment, resonant and synchronistic phenomena, engaging unconscious processes, and addressing dilemmas will be explored and each person will have an opportunity to present a supervisory experience within their particular practice modality and to explore experiences through the use of role play exercises. Small groups will be established based on the context of professional work and each group will be led by an instructor experienced in the relevant approach.

Written Comprehensive Examination DPT 899, 1 Unit

Dissertation Writing DPT 999, 15 units

Under the supervision of a Dissertation Committee, the student submits a proposal, conducts original research, writes, and defends the doctoral dissertation. This course traditionally follows the completion of all other coursework and successful completion of the comprehensive exams. However, students who demonstrate readiness may choose to apply for this course while enrolled in regular coursework. This option requires approval from the Chair of the specialization. Additional fees will be assessed for this course. Pass/No Pass